Dera Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Convicted: Here’s a quick look at facts
The special CBI court in Panchkula on August 25 held self-styled godman, and Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim guilty of sexual assault on two women in 2002, quantum of punishment will be announced on August 28.
ANI has reported that the 50-year old self-proclaimed godman has been taken to custody by the Haryana Police.
What is the case? In 2002, a sadvi of Dera Sacha Sauda in an anonymous letter, alleged sexual assault, rape by the Dera Chief, on her and other women followers. The letter was addressed to the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court took Suo moto cognizance of the sadvi's letter and directed the CBI to register a case of sexual exploitation.
The two sadvis recorded their statements and reiterated that the Dera Sacha Sauda Chief had raped them; their statements were recorded in the CBI charge sheet filed in 2007.
The trial against him began on 2008 and he was charged under Section 376 (rape) and Section 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.
However, Ram Rahim had denied these allegations earlier.
Followers enraged: The Dera Sacha Sauda Chief has an immense following, and has a huge number of followers, following the verdict of the special CBI court that convicted him of rape, angry followers had attacks media vans.
Ahead of the verdict, some two lakh followers of the Dera Chief had gathered in Panchkula hinting at a significant possibility of violence post the verdict.
Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar had appealed people to stay calm, especially the Dera followers.
Such were the apprehensions of violence that parts of Haryana, Punjab and even Chandigarh were under lockdown, as transport facilities were suspended and schools were shut down.
The Army was placed on standby, paramilitary forces and police kept their eye on sensitive areas.
After the verdict today, tear gas shells had to be used to disperse the crowd; supporters of the Dera Sacha Sauda group were also lathi-charged by the police.
Why is he popular? Apart from being a spiritual leader, Gurmeet Ram Rahim could be the only guru who has delved into the glamour and glitz of the film industry and has acted and scripted his own films.
The Dera chief, also known as the 'Messenger of God', made his own film named MSG: The Messenger' and acted in it, he also made and acted in its sequel - MSG-2 The Messenger.
He is also recognised as a VVIP and has been provided Z+ security cover by the Government of India.
The Dera Chief is also popular for selling his line of Ayurvedic Products, like Ramdev Baba.
Facts about Dera Sacha Sauda: Every member of the group has the surname - Insaan, which means Human, as the group claims to believe in equality and does not discriminate.
The group runs several programmes like cleanliness campaigns, blood donation drives, tree planting, disaster relief, and support for transgender people, tribal communities, orphans, and rehabilitation of sex workers.
Apart from the 2002 rape case, the Dera chief is also accused of 400 forced castrations on men.